In conversation with… Dr. Jillian Ney

We’ve met loads of awesome people this year. One of my favourites has to be Dr. Jillian Ney – without a doubt. Not only is she UKs first Dr. of Social Media she’s also the Founder of The Social Intelligence Lab. She’s a wonderful human. And she’s doing an amazing job of herding the various different social media cats into a semblance of order. If you’re team work in social insight / intelligence they should get in touch with Jill.

What was your first-ever job?

When I was 14 I started working in a sandwich shop for some extra pocket money. It was a teeny tiny little place that was always packed out, but it got me into a good work ethic.

Who would you most love to share a coffee with / go for a drink with?

Right now, Mark Zuckerberg to give a bit of a ‘what the f*ck is going on?’

Highlight of your career (so far?)

Finding my career. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always remember taking the career test they give you in school and being sorely disappointed in the answer they gave me – an administrator. Everyone that knows me will know that admin is not my strong point! Even at the end of my undergraduate degree I still didn’t know what I wanted to be. When I found social intelligence, I knew this is what I was destined to do. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to have many highlights. Working in an emergent discipline helps with that.

Nature or nurture?

What a good question. I don’t think it’s one over the other, it’s really both depending on the context.

Best advice you ever heard or received?

I can be more of a thinker rather than a doer. I’m driven by problem-solving and after it’s solved, I’m bored and moving onto the next. So, the best advice I’ve been given is ‘Just because you thought it, doesn’t mean it’s happened’.

What talent do you yearn for?

I’d love to be able to sing – I’m tone deaf!

What is your favourite brand and why?

I’m constantly asked this question or who has the best advertising – I don’t really have any that I would say that I’m a massive advocate for or that I think represents my life or personality. I’m a brand pessimist, I think but it makes me better at my job.

What book do you most recommend to others?

There are lots of books that I love from all different subject areas, one of my favourites is Decoding the Irrational Consumer: How to commission, run and generate insights from neuromarketing research by Darren Briger.

What last impressed you at work?

I finished a big project!

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn? What failure did you learn the most from?

To act on your thinking and act quickly, and to be prepared that nothing is 100% correct at the first pass. Things take time and revision. My advice from this would be that collaboration is key.

What do you want to do when you retire?

That seems like a long way off. I’ll probably still research, write and teach. I’m constantly learning new things and I don’t think that will change.

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